Australia Destinations Queensland

48-Hour Guide: What to do in Townsville, Queensland

From swim-up bars to luxury yacht adventures, here’s what to do in Townsville: North Queensland’s hidden gem.

With the paradisical Magnetic Island just a 30-minute ferry ride from the shore, shipwrecks and reefs, waterholes and chef-hatted dining, the Queensland city of Townsville has plenty that may surprise you. This balmy North Queensland gem enjoys an average 320 sunny days per year, as well as a thriving nightlife scene and some of Australia’s most iconic natural wonders knocking on its door. Fill your weekend with day sails to Magnetic Island, drinking beers brewed using water from the nearby Great Barrier Reef, and wining and dining at award-winning restaurants.

Whether you’re heading straight there or incorporating it into a North Queensland road trip, make the most of each moment with our ultimate weekend guide of what to do in Townsville.

Ready to explore? Check out our handpicked Queensland escapes.

Friday: Evening

Miss Songs Asian Kitchen.

First things first, upon arriving in this tropical haven you’ll want to check-in to your hotel. The Ville Resort is a playground in paradise, where casual luxury is the vibe and North Queensland’s natural wonders (we’re talking the Great Barrier Reef) are right on your doorstep. Thanks to the resort’s complimentary car parking, it’s all too easy to hit the road and explore this enticing region. Take it up a notch with valet parking at just A$15 per day and travel in style.

For a fabulous Friday night dinner, feast on Asian fusion cuisine made with the region’s finest produce at Miss Songs Asian Kitchen. Menu highlights include Peking duck pancakes, succulent prawn dumplings and sizzling beef with capsicum and onion. Cap off the evening with waterfront drinks at Quarterdeck. Sink back into your seat overlooking Magnetic Island and sip a house crafted cocktail (we recommend the Summer Lover for a chilli-infused treat).

Saturday: Morning

Magnetic Island Passenger Ferry en-route from Townsville North Queensland Australia

Rise and shine for your first full fun-filled day in Townsville. Fuel up with breakfast at The Palm House, featuring buffet dining in a relaxed setting. Load your plate with fresh eggs served how you like, bacon, cereal and globally-inspired dishes crafted before your eyes at live cooking stations.

You’ve admired Magnetic Island from a distance, now’s your chance to explore this tropical paradise up close. With Pilgrim Sailing, join an all-inclusive day sail or private charter on a luxury 58-foot yacht and cruise around the island’s spellbinding bays, discovering untouched beaches, stopping for swims and tucking into platters of locally sourced fare.

Saturday: Late Afternoon

Image courtesy of The Brewery Townsville.

Once you’re back on dry land, head to The Brewery Townsville to sample some of the best craft beers in the area. The brewery itself is hosted within Townsville’s most historic building, an old post office built in 1889, which was once used as a morse code training facility during World War II. Be sure to sample the Great Barrier Reef Gose, the world’s first beer made using water straight from the World Heritage-listed natural wonder.

Saturday: Evening

Tonight is a foodie’s dream come to life. For dinner, treat yourself to a decadent five-course modern Australian tasting menu at the chef-hatted JAM, an AGFG Readers’ Choice 2022 award winner. Devour Townsville zucchini flowers, bug and reef fish tortellini and duck breast with native pepper berry, along with a selection of French champagne and listed wines.

Sunday: Morning

As seen on Luxury Escapes TV.

This morning is all about getting back to nature and thanks to Townsville’s enviable North Queensland location, there’s no shortage of incredible landscapes to explore. Following breakfast, journey to Crystal Creek Waterfall. Just one hour from the city, this natural wonderland invites you to feel the spray of the falls on your face, take a dip in a gleaming waterhole (perfect for sun-soaked late morning swims) and admire the naturally formed slippery rockslide.

Sunday: Afternoon

There’s nothing better than a lazy Sunday afternoon. Return to your resort and while away the rest of the day in the beautiful, Palm Springs-inspired pool area, featuring an infinity pool that melts into the horizon and overlooks Magnetic Island. Take a dip or opt to sit poolside in your own private cabana and order ice cold drinks and fresh grazing platters. If you’d like to enjoy both options simultaneously, order your favourite drink at the legendary Splash swim-up bar.

After relaxing in your coastal-chic resort, sampling the city’s dining scene and exploring Townsville’s natural wonders, it’s time to check out of your room, grab the car and head for the airport for the journey home.

Ready to explore? Check out our handpicked Queensland escapes.

Looking for more Queensland inspiration? Read Romantic Things to do on the Gold Coast: A Couple’s Guide. 

Discover the world with Luxury Escapes 6pm Saturdays on Network 10 (check your local time), in partnership with Lexus, Singapore Airlines and Citi Credit Cards.   

A keen traveller and a margarita enthusiast, Felicia is all about getting to the nitty gritty of each destination she visits and discovering its hidden gems (and then running home to write about it).